The Bahiravakanda and Asigiriya

The Bahiravakanda and Asigiriya

West of the town Kandy city centre, the massive white Bahiravakanda Buddha stares over the city centre from its hilltop sit. The statue was constructed at the directive of the religiously minded President Premadasa, who also contributed the remarkable golden roof of the shrine of the Temple of the Tooth .

To reach the statue, take the side turning off Sri Pushpadana Mawatha opposite a flag-festooned bo tree .From here, it’s a firm ten-minute climb to the top. Foreigners pay Rs.100 to get into the enclosure, although the views are just as good from outside.

On the north side of the Bahiravakanda hill lies the Asigiriya monastery, along with the Malwatta Monastery the most important in Kandy. Founded in the fourteenth century, it is the oldest religious foundation in the city.

If you arrive during the evening puja (around 4.30pm), or succeed in button-holing a passing monk, you may be able to get inside to see the monastery’s large reclining Buddha and collection of ola-leaf manuscripts.

Immediately northeast of here lies the Asigiriya Stadium, one of Sri Lanka’s best for Test match cricket, often and precisely described as one of the most beautiful cricket grounds in the world.

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